Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic kicked off his official visit to Berlin by addressing Bundestag’s Committee on European Union Affairs where he said that Serbia, whose foreign policy priority is full EU membership, remains committed to dialogue with Pristina under the auspices of the Union, pointing out however that a major problem with this process lies in the lack of trust.
Selakovic stressed that the issue of Kosovo and Metohija is of the utmost importance not only for Serbia, but also for maintaining peace and stability throughout the region.
“I am therefore convinced that this issue is also important for Germany, because we have seen that any instability in the Balkans has ultimately had an impact on German society. It is a matter of finding a permanent and sustainable solution to the Kosovo and the Metohija issue,” Selakovic said.
He stressed that Serbia supports the EU-led process but is aware of the role of the Member States, especially Germany, in this process.
“That’s why we need your understanding and support. Serbia remains committed to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina through the EU,” he stressed, while adding “this is why our position is clear; we want full membership in the Union and we need your help to complete and speed up the accession process,” he said.
Selakovic noted that the problem in this process is the lack of confidence, with Serbia insisting that what is agreed in the dialogue with Pristina should be implemented strictly and without exception, recalling that Belgrade has done a lot so far, while Pristina refuses to implement the part concerning the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities.
“This is Pristina’s commitment, the implementation of which our side will insist on, mainly because we want a better and safer life for the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija,” Selakovic stressed.
He underlined that Serbia is trying to preserve its own, Orthodox cultural heritage in the area of Kosovo and Metohija which, he pointed out, is extremely valuable for the whole of Christianity.
“That is why we are concerned about the numerous activities carried out by the authorities in Pristina and Tirana in a synchronized and open manner regarding the implementation of the idea of ”Greater Albania”, which is a threat not only to Serbia but also to the stability of the whole region,” the Serbian Foreign Minister warned. “Serbia therefore expects strong and clear action from its partners to suppress such ambitions,” Selakovic added.
He added that Serbia is on the European side because of the transformative power of the accession process, as it wants to enable a better life for its citizens.
Selakovic presented the government’s economic successes, stressing that Serbia is the first in Europe in terms of economic growth as will officially be confirmed in late March, when the first quarterly review will be published.
Such a result, he adds, was achieved thanks to the rapid opening of our economy after the first wave of the pandemic, as well as the reform measures that have been adopted by the Serbian government since 2014.
According to Selakovic, Serbia is a link and an important part of the corridor between Western Europe and Istanbul, and in this regard he recalled that the first section of the highway from Sofia to the border with Serbia has been completed, while the part under construction of the Bulgarian side should be built by the end of this year.
Regarding the rule of law, Selakovic stressed that Serbia has done a lot in recent years, citing the adoption of the proposed constitutional amendments which were forwarded to parliament for further procedure as part of the constitutional amendment process, binding the country to the EU accession process.
Regarding media freedom, Selakovic noted that in Serbia media freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution and legislation that is fully in line with EU standards, adding that the country unreservedly supports media freedom and is fully aligned with the view that it is the foundation of any democratic society.
In this area, he emphasizes, results are evident, recalling that in 2019 a new media strategy was adopted and the action plan for the implementation of the media strategy was approved at the end of last year.
“A working group was created for the security and protection of journalists, alongside a working group to monitor the implementation of the Media Strategy Action Plan. All requests for legal action against the media or journalists have been withdrawn. All criminal charges against media representatives were dropped. The Prosecutor of the Republic has issued an order for prosecutors, who order urgent action in cases involving journalists. The directive also imposes sanctions in case of threat, violence or endangering the safety of journalists and media workers in an urgent procedure,” Selakovic added. /ibna